Hiring Heroes Career Fair coming to Joint Base Lewis-McChord

By Gail Wood on August 1, 2014

If you're transitioning from the military or are a veteran looking for work, then Sylvia Parker has an event especially for you.

The Hiring Heroes Career Fair is coming to Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Parker, a human resource specialist for the Department of Defense coordinating the job fair, said she has 62 employers coming.

"We're excited," she said.

There are career opportunities for wounded, ill, injured and transitioning servicemembers as well as veterans, military spouses and primary caregivers.

It's the eighth Hiring Heroes Career Event to come to JBLM and will be held Aug. 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Club at McChord Field, at 700 Barnes Blvd.

The event averages 508 job seekers. The largest turnout was 671.

"But it's not about the numbers," Parker said. "It's about helping those transitioning from the military to civilian careers."

Parker encourages those who are not even getting out of the military for another six months or longer to come and talk with recruiters and start networking now. With the military downsizing, the likelihood of making that transition has increased - and may come sooner than expected.

"For some, the military has been their only job from out of high school," Parker said. "They thought it would be their career forever. And due to certain circumstances, that's not going to be the case."

The day before the job search fair, there will be an information session for military spouses.

"We target information for the spouse as we talk about civil service employment," she said. "And we talk about entitlements they have as a spouse."

Also discussed will be how to write a resumé, how to look for a job and other valuable information. This hands-on seminar will be from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Army Community Service Building, 2166 Leggett Ave.    

Some of the potential employers at the job fair will be representatives from U.S. Customs, which needs border patrol, finance, and fish and wildlife employees.

A transitioning time of life can be frustrating, Parker said, and the job fair and other supportive programs are geared to help servicemembers get through it. And it's not a one-day hand up, limited just to the job fair.

"We're there for the career fair, but here in my office we also maintain an email and a toll-free number (servicemembers) can call and get help," Parker said. "(We walk) them through the hiring process."

A transitioning vet can also get suggestions about how to put their resumé together.

"We can look at their resumés," Parker said. "We can put them in touch with recruiters and other DoD personnel."

The objective is to get the transitioning vet connected to a potential employer.

"It's not just a couple of days. They can come back to us," Parker said. "We try to follow up in 60, 90 days. They say they've found employment or if they haven't; we still try to work with them."

It's all about getting that job, and Parker hears about a lot of success stories.

"We get a lot of people that contact us that have jobs," Parker said.

Parker's human resource office can be reached toll free at 1.888.363.4872 or at hiringheroes@cpms.osd.mil. The website is godefense.com